Faux Real Though - The Big Fake Wedding NYC

Earlier this Spring we had the pleasure of participating in an event called the Big Fake Wedding…and yes, it was every bit as awesome as it sounds. Allow me to explain. The founders of the Big Fake Wedding set out to create a bridal show alternative, where newly engaged couples (known as “wedding guests”) can connect with local vendors at an event that mirrors an actual wedding. Guests are invited to attend a vow renewal ceremony and dance-party reception for the chance to see prospective event planners, officiants, DJs, cinematographers and photographers in action. 

Sounds exciting right? Oh it was. And here’s what I decided: if a real wedding had a baby with a Spartan Obstacle Course Race, this would be it. The love-child hybrid event that somehow serves as an emotional vow renewal for one lucky couple, a cake-tasting dance-a-thon to hundreds of guests, and to the participating optics like ourselves, an eat-or-be-eaten athletic quest of performance, skill and stealth, all juggled while navigating a sea of lenses from our fellow competitors, vying for the same ideal shot. Don’t get me wrong, the experience was entirely amicable and not only did we get to learn, laugh and play with the other photo/video teams, we also had the unique opportunity to wield our cameras while satisfying our ever-lasting fantasy of competing on American Ninja Warrior all without having to leave the comforts of Midtown Manhattan.

The reason for all the clamoring can be summed up in two words: the Ryders. A couple who redefines the depths of unwavering commitment and unencumbered love. They first met at a Young Life camp over a decade ago, tied the knot in 2007 and have since conquered cancer, defied doctors and witnessed the miracle births of their three beautiful daughters. To meet Libby and Justin is to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the best things really do come after the wedding. Their’s is the kind of marriage that radiates quiet strength and passionate unity, without so much as a word. 

When they did open up to share their own vows, Libby and Justin boldly bared the hearts before a room full of perfect strangers, inviting us all into their emotional story of unhindered faith, abiding friendship and the kind of loving devotion you’d only expect to see at 30+ years, let alone a 10th anniversary celebration. 

We walked away from the experience not only moved to our core by our new friends, the Ryders, but blessed by the opportunity to meet and collaborate with a stellar team of talented designers, creatives, entrepreneurs and soon-to-be-wed guests we won’t soon forget. 

See below for our own photo recap and a list of featured talent. Highlights also featured on Ruffled, WanderKnot and The Big Fake Wedding as well. Enjoy!